Marketing Automation: Brand Inception


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Increasingly, brands are adopting marketing-automation platforms, such as Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardot, to “plant ideas” (and relevant, valuable information) all along the buyer journey. However, penetrating the mind-set of a target prospect or influencer in a world full of noise, choices, content overload, and competing priorities is no simple matter.

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Marketing Automation: Brand Inception

  1. 1. By Ted Kohnen, Chief Marketing Officer, Stein + Partners Brand Activation Marketing Automation: Brand Inception “This is inception. The seed of the idea we plant will grow in this mans mind. Itll change him. It might even come to define him.” –Leonardo DiCaprio (Dominic Cobb) from the movie InceptionYou probably weren’t thinking about marketing automation as you watched the hit movieInception, in which trained “extractors” sought to plant an idea in the mind of asuccessful businessman so that his future actions would be to their benefit.Well, I was.While marketing automation has been a hot topic among marketers for some time now,awareness of and interest in its promise hit a high note with the recent acquisition ofPardot by Exact Target for $90 million. And just last week, the Business MarketingAssociation’s inaugural London “Go and Grow” conference featured a panel onMarketing Automation led by Stein + Partners’ president and chief creative officer, TomStein.At the event, the panelists discussed how marketing automation goes beyond contact/leadscoring, segmentation, and structured communications. Through strategic orchestration,fueled by the right contentand delivered with topicality and relevance, a brand can, infact, more deeply penetrate the decision-making process of a potential customer. In otherwords, Brand Inception.Penetrating the mind-set of a target prospect or influencer in a world full of noise,choices, content overload, and competing priorities is no simple matter. As DominicCobb stated in Inception, “No ideas simple when you have to plant it in someone elsesmind.”But marketing automation holds the key. Increasingly, brands are adopting marketing- 1
  2. 2. automation platforms, such as Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardot, to “plant ideas” (andrelevant, valuable information) all along the buyer journey. By doing so, they have seenincreases in lead generation, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), and closed sales. In therecently published Lead Generation Effectiveness Study, 46 percent of respondentsindicated they have experienced an increase in marketing-contributed revenue as a resultof their marketing-automation program.Yet many brands struggle to realize the full potential of marketing automation. What’sholding them back? For starters, a SiruisDecisions survey about lead-generationeffectiveness found that most companies only use 25 percent of a marketing-automationplatform’s functionality. Further, the survey found that the No. 1 reason marketers aredissatisfied with marketing-automation performance is due to lack of content forcampaigns.The importance of content–good content–cannot be overstated. So much so that I wrote aBrand Activator blog post earlier this year called “Feeding the Beast: ActivatingMarketing Automation.” Simply put, you can’t plant an idea without the content tosupport it.As you think about your own marketing-automation initiatives, it may pay to think likeDominic Cobb and become your organization’s “extractor.” Assemble the best cross-functional team (sales, marketing, IT, customer care), maximize your platform’sfunctionality, develop great content–but start with an idea that deserves to be planted.Read more: 2